Mamta Banerjee says “No Tie-Up with Congress’”, No sign of agreement between the parties

Weeks have passed with little sign of an agreement in the Trinamool vs. Congress dispute over seat-sharing, nor on how the Congress-led INDIA group would best unseat Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP.

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An enraged Mamata Banerjee vowed on Wednesday that the Trinamool Congress will run its own independent campaign for the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal and would only think about forming a pan-Indian alliance with the Congress once the results were announced. With her remarks, Ms. Banerjee seems to have dealt a fatal blow to any hopes that the two parties—which are regarded as significant players in the opposition in India—will be able to come to a compromise.

“I had no discussions with the Congress. I have always said that in Bengal, we will fight alone. I gave them (the Congress) many proposals… but they rejected them. I am not concerned about what will be done in the (rest of the) country… but we are a secular party and, in Bengal, we alone will defeat BJP.”

Later, Trinamool insiders informed news agency PTI that although the party is amenable to “courtesy back-channel” discussions, there is very little chance that an agreement will be reached.

Mamta Banerjee criticized Rahul Gandhi’s “Bharat Jodo Yatra”

She also attacked Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and his “Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra,” which is anticipated to arrive in Bengal on Thursday but may not stop in Kolkata, in more indications of her eroding patience. “They are coming to my state… but did not have courtesy to inform me, even though I am part of the INDIA bloc. So there is no relations with me, as far as Bengal is concerned,” she told reporters. Although Ms. Banerjee gets along well with Sonia Gandhi, the matriarch of the Congress, her relationship with Mr. Gandhi is perceived as tense. She’s stated before that she opposes her ‘ally’ running for office in Bengal.

“INDIA will be present in India (but) in Bengal the Trinamool Congress will fight. In Bengal it is only Trinamool that can teach the BJP a lesson. It can show the country the path to victory…” she said earlier.

 Congress responds

Just a few minutes later the Congress responded through comms boss Jairam Ramesh. Mr Ramesh, who is with Rahul Gandhi and the yatra in Assam, said his party “cannot imagine INDIA bloc without Mamataji”. Mr. Ramesh insisted “all INDIA partners will unitedly fight Lok Sabha polls in Bengal”.Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal said the party would “talk to Trinamool”.

“There will be an alliance in West Bengal. Our aim is to decrease BJP seats. (We) will talk to Trinamool… Mamata Banerjee is a senior leader in INDIA  alliance. These are small differences (that) will be sorted.”

Amit Malviya of the BJP delivered a biting critique of Ms. Banerjee’s remarks, labelling it a “sign of desperation”.

Ms. Banerjee attacked the Congress on Tuesday for its “unjustified” demand for 10–12 Lok Sabha seats in her state; she had previously promised two seats and cited the party’s dismal track record. It secured two seats in 2019 compared to four in 2014. The dispute between the Congress and Trinamool parties on seat-sharing and the possibility of India overtaking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP has been raging for weeks without any sign of an agreement, and neither party is prepared to give an inch. As of yet, the Congress has disregarded deadlines to reach an agreement.

By: Gursharan Kaur

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